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on the train to Weimar, Erfurt, Eisenach... I spent yesterday (the 3rd)  in Leipzig, seeing and doing as much as I could in the several hours I had. First of all, my friend SeHee (currently in Berlin) is in the process of moving to Leipzig, and was there attending to some of that business. We met for lunch at a small Italian cafe adjacent to the St. Nikolaikirche. As we were eating we both commented on how ridiculously quintessential the setting seemed to be: sparkling water, a wobbling table, a narrow, cobblestone side street, quiet enough to be serene, but close to the sounds of bicycles, children, tourists, shops, fountains, etc.; accordion music coming from some distant corner, bouncing between old walls and buildings to reach us, all under the shade of a towering medieval church (with bells tolling on the hour). Now there's an image to remember.

 In fact, most of Leipzig, especially the city center, with its maze of narrow streets and beautiful rows of buildings, had a similar charm. In the few hours I had before most museums and sites began to close, I saw St. Nikolaikirche, the Thomaskirche, Mendelssohn-Haus, and Schumann-Haus (but arrived 15 minutes after it closed). These were the main places I had in mind to see, the last three being especially significant in Leipzig's (hence Germany's, hence Europe's) musical history. I could have spent the entire day just at Thomaskirche – its musical and cultural history would take at least that long for me to really absorb and take in.  Bach, of course, worked there (for the longest portion of his career, and to the end of his life) premiering St. Matthew's Passion and many other of his best-known works. Martin Luther preached there. Mozart played its organ. Mendelssohn revived many of Bach's works there. Et cetera. And not only is it a beautiful architectural feat, there are also several great monuments and statues in the surrounding area, as well as the Bach-Archiv and Museum directly next door. And let's not forget a brewery - “Brauerie an der Thomaskirch” in the adjacent plaza where I felt it only proper and fitting to ingest “ein mass Schwarzbier” with a nice view of the church's tower.

 The other sites/museums were of course great, but Thomaskirch had a very special effect on me, one I probably shouldn't try to hard to describe here.

 Next: Weimar, Erfurt, Eisenach...

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